Minnesota Department of Transportation

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South Central Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership

Transportation Planning in MnDOT District 7

What is an Area Transportation Partnership (ATP)?

MnDOT created area transportation partnerships (ATPs) to emphasize greater public involvement in the preparation of transportation plans and programs. There are eight ATPs in Minnesota (one for each MnDOT District area).


The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) gave the states more flexibility in determining transportation solutions and required the development of a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) continued this flexibility.

MnDOT responded by decentralizing the program decision-making process to a more regional level (i.e. the districts).  The Area Transportation Partnerships were established by each district to facilitate broader input to the project selection process.  ATP-7 covers the 13 counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Nobles, Rock, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan.

The 2012 MAP-21 federal transportation bill introduced a more performance based approach, especially in regards to the National Highway System. The 2015 FAST Act is the current federal transportation bill which continues to emphasize the same areas of performance as its predecessor.

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)


Capital Highway Investment Proposal - State Highways (CHIP)

ATP-7 operating procedures and policies


Members of ATP-7 include:

  • 4 MnDOT District 7 representatives
  • 2 Regional Development Commission representatives
  • 4 County representatives
  • 3 City (more than 5,000 population) representatives
  • 2 Transit representatives
  • Mankato / North Mankato Area Planning Organization representative  

MnDOT is responsible for staff support of the ATP-7.

Transit Mankato / North Mankato Area Planning Organization
Shawn Schloesser

Greater Mankato Transit

Pat LaCourse

Brown County Transit

Seth Greenwood
Nicollet County
MAPO Alternate

Troy Nemmers, P.E.

City of Fairmont

Mike Kuhle
City of Worthington
Jeff Johnson
City of Mankato


Ryan Thilges
Blue Earth County Engineer
Don Wachal
Jackson County Commissioner 
Nick Klisch, Cottonwood County Engineer
Jack Kolars
Nicollet County Commissioner
Regional Development Commission (RDC)
Richard Peterson Southwest RDC 
Robert Goblirsch
Region Nine
(507) 794-3650
Rosemary Bruce-White
Southwest RDC 
Alt. Joel Hanif
Region 9
Sam Parker

Planning Director (acting)

Greg Ous

District Engineer

Zak Tess
Asst. District Engineer
Lisa Bigham
State Aid Engineer


Each year, ATPs develop an Area Transportation Improvement Program (ATIP) to incorporate into the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). ATIPs, which span a minimum of four years, include all projects that seek federal aid highway, state trunk highway, and federal transit sources of funding.

To distribute the funds, a Statewide Performance Program allows Minnesota to meet performance targets on the National Highway System.

ATP-7 solicits projects for:

  • Surface Transportation Program (small urban and rural road and bridge; and transit capital)
  • Transportation Alternatives Program (within a statewide framework)

These projects are ranked by categories with set investment targets, and then integrated into the four-year ATIP. Project categories include:

  • National Highway System
  • State roads and bridges
  • Rural county roads and bridges
  • Small urban (more than 5,000 population) city streets and bridges
  • Transportation alternatives
  • Transit capital

Schedule of activities

  • November–January: Solicit projects
  • February: Evaluate and prioritize projects
  • March: Draft ATIP
  • April: Public comment and review period
  • May: Submit draft ATIP to MnDOT Central Office
  • June: Draft STIP review and comment
  • July: STIP approval by Commissioner

2021 timeline (PDF 20 KB)